21 Favourite Things

21

My birthday is coming up in a couple weeks, which means I’m turning 22, which means I can watch this video even more than I already do. It also means I am feeling a pull to look back on the past year and take stock. If you haven’t already noticed, I’m very fond of taking stock and reflecting and such and etc. I won’t be 22 until the 7th, but since I haven’t been blogging very much lately, I thought I’d start now (also I was just having the most fun ever writing this post, and wanted to share). This list of the 21 favourite things from my 21st year was inspired by Elise. I’ll also be sharing my 21 favourite moments on a future blog post. I just love this idea because it gives me a chance to reflect on all of the wonderful things that happened to me when I was 21 and preserve/remember what made 21 so special. Without further ado, my 21 favourite things this year!

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running. Maybe this is an obvious one, but running has re-appeared in my life this year, and I’m so happy with it. It’s a type of exercise that just vibes so well with my lifestyle, it keeps me sane, it pushes me, it’s interesting, and it makes me feel good.

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toms. These things were glued to my feet all of last summer, and I am already planning much of the same for this coming summer. They don’t work out so well for a Montreal winter, but I could not love them more. I was reluctant to jump on this bandwagon, but they quickly became my all-time favourite shoes. 

avocado toast. Preferably on toasted baguette with garlic aioli and a sprinkle of salt. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Afterglow appMy favourite photo processing app for iPhone. I got so sick of Instagram filters, and this app is just full of dream filters and features. Amaze. (apparently it is now called Afterlight? whatevs, same difference.)

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salted caramel brownies. ’nuff said, but they’ve become my go-to dessert. Apart from one disastrous batch in which I accidentally scrambled the eggs, they are the most perfect of perfect desserts via smitten kitchen.

8tracks. This website has gotten me through awful study seshes, set the mood, cheered me up, and introduced me to a lot of great new music. It also allowed me to listen to the new Taylor Swift album to my heart’s absolute content and…that’s irreplaceable.

Feedly. Google Reader is going the way of the dodo, but I don’t mind because I never really used it anyways. I did recently get into using Feedly, which is an awesome blog reader that is slick and shiny and integrated on both my browser and my phone and I love it. The list of blogs I wanted to keep up with grew too long to just check every morning from memory, so this was helpful.

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Tiny Beautiful Things. I had a moment with this book. I can’t really explain it, but I just connected really deeply to the stories inside. It’s razor sharp, deep, wise commentary that is just so powerful. Cheryl Strayed is an amazing writer and seems like she must be an amazing person. I really do feel like Tiny Beautiful Things should be required reading for humanity. I reference sections of it if I’m feeling lost. It’s the best.

runny eggs on toast. My new favourite breakfast. Earlier this year it was smoothies, and that lasted a while, but now I’m all about eggs. I cook them using this method, and it has never failed me.

Sarah Addison Allen books. I really just fell in love with this author this year. Her books all take place in the South, which I’ve always been fascinated by because of their fruit trees and debutante society and traditions. The books always have a hint of magic to them, even though they very much take place in the real world. I just really enjoyed all of her writing this year.

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Goji Tarocco Orange Voluspa Candle. Normally candles give me headaches because they’re so perfumey and flowery. This candle just smells fresh and citrusy, and I have yet to shove it under someone’s nose without them loving it. I splurged and bought myself the one in the large glass container, but I also have the tiny version they sell, and it does the job just as well.

my library card. I don’t remember exactly when I got myself my library card, but I do know that this has been the year I used it most. We have an amazing public library downtown Montreal, and I’ve spent many a peaceful afternoon wandering around that place. I’ve also read a ton more than I would have otherwise.

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happy hour. I think this was the summer of happy hours. I have so many great memories of sitting in the late afternoon sun, drinking delicious cocktails and having long conversations with great friends. I can’t wait to do more of the same in a couple months.

Masterchef. I just can’t help myself, I adore any and all Masterchef programs, but especially the ones out of Australia. They do it best and they have the cutest accents of all time so…yeah. I love watching this show while making dinner, it makes me feel really accomplished even when I’m just chopping up sweet potato fries for the third time that week.

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that pink dress. It was a labour of love, for sure, but I am so happy I set myself that challenge and came out on top. And I actually do wear it!

podcasts. This was definitely the year of the podcasts. Disregarding the fact that I created two podcasts this year, I also just fell in love with the medium. My two favourites are the Joy the Baker podcast and This American Life. I love to listen to them while I grocery shop or cook.

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Not pictured: my equally beloved parents and grandparents

my family. Do I get points for being a sentimental sap? Prolly not. But I spent my birthday last year with my family and it was such a beautiful weekend. I’m getting old(er), and I am appreciating my family more and more, and enjoying the time we get to spend together. I felt like I got some quality times with ma loved ones this year, and I want to keep that up in future! Ya!

tacos and sushi. These two food groups (yes, food groups) made up the majority of my food cravings in the past year. I can’t get enough of either of them, in all their incarnations. Perfect food!

Pentel Energel pensMy all-time favourite pen ever, of all time. They are the ultimate!

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the book club. I’m ever-so-happy we threw together a book club with a few of our friends. It’ll be over soon because everyone’s going their separate ways after graduation, but it was a nice thing, and I’m glad we did it. We read some amazing books that I may not have read otherwise, and we talked about them and it was educational and inspiring and great.

“Be about ten times more magnanimous than you believe yourself capable of being. Your life will be a hundred times better for it.” – Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things. I didn’t necessarily have this quote in my head throughout this past year, but I think I have been trying to embody the sentiment. I am trying to move away from being petty and towards being generous. I am trying to move away from criticizing and towards appreciating (in myself and in others). I am trying to act in a way that I’m proud of. I am trying to be true to myself at all times.

This was an incredible year for me. Amazing. So much has happened, both within and without me. Love you, 21!

Read This Book: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Reading this book was practically a religious experience (and trust – I do not have those very often!). I read it in one sitting, which despite my love of books, does not often happen. I barely moved out of my bed for hours – hours that I barely noticed passing. Strangest part is, it’s not even fiction! Usually it’s novels that pull me in this much, but I think it must be the wonderful storytelling that this book is packed with that hooked me.

This book by Cheryl Strayed was a nominee for best 2012 nonfiction book on GoodReads this year, and I put it on my to-read list without thinking too much of it. I almost feel lucky that I decided to check it out of the library, because (*cheesiness alert*) I hate to think that I might not have read this book. I’m serious! It was exactly what I needed to read, exactly when I needed to read it. As a twenty-one-year-old who is weeks away from finishing her second-last undergraduate semester, this book was a salve and an inspiration. I know I sound totally cuckoo, and maybe I am, but it left a huge impression on me.

The book is a collection of the letters and answers to an online advice column called Dear Sugar. The questions range from coping with jealousy to dealing with rejection to leaving relationships to insecurities of all types to learning how to love again to facing reality. Those stories are all very interesting. But my favourite part is reading her answers, because they aren’t just answers. Yes, there’s wisdom (buckets of it), and many simple, simple truths (that everyone needs to hear, I think). But what makes this book so special is how the author weaves in the stories of her own sadness, despair, heartbreak, resilience, happiness, love, and strength. Reading these conversations is like a glimpse into the real, accessible, relatable world. The advice she gives is like a DIY guide to being a strong, healthy, capable adult.

I filled a few pages in my notebook with quotes from this book, and I am going to buy my own copy soon. I am thinking of giving this book as a gift to my close friends this Christmas – it’s that good, people! It’s one of those books that should be required reading, you know? Okay, happy Monday you beautiful souls – let’s all go and be better people today, shall we? xo.

(ps. get it here, if you’re interested)